Melinda Metz

Melinda Metz, on the left, pictured with Laura Burns

An editor at Pocket Books came up with the initial idea of Roswell High. Melinda Metz was given a story board with some images. Basing her characters off of these images, Metz began the journey into the world of Roswell High. She also worked very closely with Laura Burns on this project. It was, in fact, Laura Burns who came up with the characters and outlined plots through rough drafts. Working with the basic plot arc that Laura Burns had created, Melinda Metz was hired to write the actual stories. Metz is the mastermind behind the fun alien themes and the great characterization.

Both Metz and Burns were seeking careers in television writing, but neither thought that Roswell High would be the avenue to make this possible. Metz and Burns have both gone on to write some television episodes for the TV show Roswell, as well as shows like The Dead Zone.

Melinda Metz is also the author of the series Fingerprints. She has written a number of books based on episodes of various televison shows. Metz lives in Manhattan, New York with a pen-eating dog named Dodger.

Visit Melinda Metz's sites at and


Source: BBCcult

How did you come up with the original concept for Roswell?

Mel At Pocketbooks, the publisher, one of the VPs came up with the idea of Roswell High. Just basically aliens in High School. Laura was working at a different company then...

Laura After we met each other at Parachute Publishing I had left and gone to a different company. Around the same time Melinda had decided to take the plunge that editors usually take, she was going to go and be a writer full time.
So it was good timing for both of us because I got to this different company and they wanted me to develop this idea, Roswell High, for Pocketbooks. I had come up with the tone of it, using the wackiness of Roswell.

Mel I came up with the name Crashdown and the wacky alien theme.

Laura Basically I came up with the characters and the set-up and rough outlines of plots. Then, because Melinda was going to be a writer and I knew she would be perfect at it, I was able to hire her to write the books.

Mel And then we kind of fleshed it out more together. Laura had the main characters sketched out and the main arc.

Laura Then Melinda made them loveable and wonderful and the television rights sold on the strength of her first manuscript.

Mel That's how it started on its road to TV. It was completely unexpected. That was really the first thing other than a novelisation of an episode of Goosebumps that I'd written. I never thought the first thing I would write would turn into something like this.

Was TV always in the back of your mind, or was Roswell High written as a book first and foremost?

Laura No, we wanted to make the change and go and become television writers, but I don't think that we ever thought [the book would be the way in].

Mel No, it didn’t really occur to me. It happened really fast. The first book was due maybe like a month after [the TV people became interested]. So I was caught up in finishing the first manuscript, I wasn't really thinking beyond that.

Laura We thought we had the skills ourselves to go and become television writers. We had never thought of doing it by developing a book and turning it into a TV series.

Mel We were going to write spec scripts and try and get an agent, we just hadn't done it yet.

How much has Roswell grown into its own life as a TV series?

Mel The pilot and the first episode of season one have a lot of overlap and then they really have gone off in two different directions. They are alternative universes of each other.

I find it fun just to see what other writers did starting at the same point, to see what other people do with the same aliens and the same powers and the same basic relationships.

Laura It's never occurred to us to compare the books to the show, because it's a very different kind of story telling that you can do in a book versus on television. It needs to be so much more visual obviously on television and also, the books were for children.

Mel The books were for young adults.

Laura Sheriff Valenti is one of the characters that's really different on the TV show versus the books, because in the books he was just pure evil.

Mel The books were for teens, and [in that type of book] you don't usually give the adult characters their full back story.

Valenti felt this way because his father was obsessed with aliens. So he didn't really have much motivation except being bad.

Mel He wanted to catch them, put them away and experiment on them.

Laura The show reaches an older audience and it's fun to plot for these people as they're getting older.

Mel [There's] a lot of different kind of stories. And [the characters] are already older than they were in the books.

In the early stages, were you consulted about the series?

Laura It was very separate. We were in New York doing books and they were in Hollywood doing a television show.

The publisher was the one who had sold the television rights and so they had more contact with Jason and the other people doing the show than we did individually.

Mel The books and the show are so different. The characters on the show have different back stories, and both sets of characters experience different things.

They're really just too different to try and work them back around. It just wouldn't make sense for the show characters, it would be inconsistent for them to start behaving like or experiencing things that the other characters did.

Laura We get asked that question a lot, and as a writer I would almost be bored doing the same story again.

The show is its own thing. We very much follow Jason Katims' vision because he's brilliant and he knows exactly what he wants the show to be.

Mel And we love what he did with the show.

Laura Yeah, we love it, we were big fans.

Mel I also wrote six books between Roswell High, so when we started here my book series of Roswell High was all wrapped up. They got their happy ending and everything. It's over so it's fun to get back into that world but it's different.

Out of all the actors that got cast in the show who was closest to your vision?

Laura I think Michael. Brendan Fehr has a gruff yet funny and charming persona that our Michael had too.

Mel It’s that good-heartedness covered by a lot of testosterone. I think that Max is quite a bit like the Max in the books.

Laura The Max and Liz relationship is pretty close.

Mel It’s definitely the heart of the book series too.

But some of the others, like Maria, are very different. She’s sort of funny in both, but in different ways. I do think the cast is amazing. Whether they’re like what I was thinking of when I was doing the books or not, in that alternate universe way, I just enjoy them both.

Kyle in the books was just awful but he’s one of my favourite characters now. He’s very funny.

Read more at BBCcult.

Other Books

This bibliography last updated 7.9.11. But you should totally check out Melinda Metz's website because she is up to some cool things and I am sure she's only becoming more awesome! I think she and Laura are writing together again? I'm sorry. I don't really follow Roswell or Metz like I used to... Send me an email if you think I need to add something here. |

Source: Fantastic Fiction

Roswell High

  • 1. The Outsider (1998)
  • 2. The Wild One (1998)
  • 3. The Seeker (1998)
  • 4. The Watcher (1999)
  • 5. The Intruder (1999)
  • 6. The Stowaway (1999)
  • 7. The Vanished (1999)
  • 8. The Rebel (2000)
  • 9. The Dark One (2000)
  • 10. The Salvation (2000)

Sweet Sixteen
  • 1. Julia (2000)
  • 2. Lucy (2000) (with Jessica Barondes)
  • 4. Trent (2000) (with Daniel Parker)
  • 6. Sunny and Matt (2000)
  • Kari (2000) (with Libbi Bray)
  • Marisa (2000)

  • 1. Gifted Touch (2001)
  • 2. Haunted (2001)
  • 3. Trust Me (2001)
  • 4. Secrets (2001)
  • 5. Betrayed (2001)
  • 6. Revelations (2001)
  • 7. Payback (2002)
  • Echoes (omnibus) (2010)

Everwood (with Laura J Burns)
  • 1. First Impressions (2004)
  • 4. Making Choices (2004)
  • 6. Worlds Apart (2005)
  • 7. Change of Plans (2005)

Wright and Wong (with Laura J Burns)
  • 1. The Case Of The Prank That Stank (2005)
  • 2. The Case of the Nana-Napper (2005)
  • 3. The Case of the Trail Mix-Up (2005)
  • 4. The Case of the Slippery Soap Star (2005)

Crave (with Laura J Burns)
  • 1. Crave (2010)
  • 2. Sacrifice (2011)

  • Raven's Point (2004)
  • Arise (2011) (with Laura J Burns)

Series contributed to New Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley
  • 18. The Case of the Flying Phantom (2000)
  • 19. The Case of the Creepy Castle (2000) (with Judy Katschke)
  • 21. Case of the Flapper 'Napper (2001) (with Judy Katschke)
  • 33. The Case of the Hollywood Who-Done-It (2003)
  • 34. The Case of the Sundae Surprise (2003)
  • The Case of the Surprise Call (1999)
  • The Case of the Golden Slipper (2000)
  • The Case of the Rock Star's Secret (2000)
  • The Case of the Giggling Ghost (2002)
  • The Case of the Dog Show Mystery (2004)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer : Tales of the Slayer (with Scott Allie, Laura J Burns, Greg Cox, Kara Dalkey, Todd A McIntosh, Michael Reaves and Kristine Kathryn Rusch)
  • 2. Tales of the Slayer, Vol. 2 (2002)
  • Tales of the Slayer, Vol. 2

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (with Laura J Burns)
  • Apocalypse Memories (2004)
  • Colony (2005)

Source: Fantastic Fiction